Haplogroup K is a mitochondrial lineage that represents a sizeable fraction of the Western Eurasian genetic pool.
It is the most common subclade of haplogroup U8 and it has an estimated age in Europe of c. 12,000 years BP.
Approximately 32% of the haplotypes of modern people with Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry are in haplogroup K. However, belonging to this haplogroup is not proof of Jewish heritage; the majority of haplogroup K are of non-Jewish European ancestry. In Europe it is particularly common around the Alps, Ireland, and the UK.
In his popular book The Seven Daughters of Eve, Bryan Sykes named the originator of this mtDNA haplogroup Katrine.
Analysis of the mtDNA of Ötzi the Iceman
, the frozen mummy from 3300 BC
found on the Austrian
border, has shown that Ötzi belongs to the K1 subcluster of the mitochondrial haplogroup K
, but that it cannot be categorized into any of the three modern branches of that subcluster.
On an 18 November 2005 broadcast of the Today Show, during an interview with Dr. Spencer Wells of The National Geographic Genographic Project, host Katie Couric was revealed to belong to haplogroup K.
On 14 August 2007, Stephen Colbert was told by Dr. Spencer Wells that he is a member of this haplogroup.